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March 23, 1984

Assessing the Effectiveness of Community Screening Programs

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pediatrics (Dr Cadman), Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (Drs Cadman, Chambers, and Sackett), and Medicine (Dr Sackett), McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario; and the Department of Pediatrics, University of Ottawa (Dr Feldman).

JAMA. 1984;251(12):1580-1585. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340360046028

Community screening programs seek to detect disorders or risk factors in seemingly healthy persons. The following seven guidelines for determining whether a screening program is likely to be effective are proposed and discussed: (1) Has the effectiveness of the program been demonstrated in a randomized trial? (2) Are efficacious treatments available? (3) Does the burden of suffering warrant screening? (4) Is there a good screening test? (5) Does the program reach those who could benefit? (6) Can the health system cope with the program? (7) Do persons with positive screenings comply with advice and interventions?

(JAMA 1984;251:1580-1585)